Sea levels along the Indian coast are projected to rise by up to 2.8 feet between 1990 and 2100, the government warned on Friday. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma said the sea-level rise is likely to threaten deltas of the Ganga, Krishna, Godavari, Cauvery, and Mahanadi on the east coast.
Citing studies by the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, the minister said Mumbai and other stretches on the west coast such as parts of Khambat and Kutch in Gujarat, Konkan, and south Kerala were especially vulnerable to sea-level rise. India has submitted the findings to the UN climate body.
The catchment area of river Cauvery spreads across three states of south India. It covers 800 kilometres running through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The 2.8 feet rise may seem to be small but when it comes to river Cauvery it will mean annihilation of a large chunk of land. The combine land loss along the sea coast and along the riverside will be huge. The beaches will get closer and the farm-lands on the sides of rivers such as Cauvery and Godavari will be completely submerged.
Activist and researcher Nityanand Jayaraman who has been vocal about environmental violations by corporate groups said the report was not surprising.
"What the Minister told MPs in the Lok Sabha has been reiterated by environmentalists and scientists for the last 30 years. What is more alarming is that with the melting of Antarctic ice, the methane gas trapped inside might be released into the atmosphere," he said.
On July 12, 2017, a giant iceberg was detached from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. The melting of Antarctic ice could worsen global warming as methane is a much more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide since it can trap more heat.
Jayaraman said both the UPA and NDA governments had neglected the environment. Referring to the pollution of 351 rivers, he said sewage waste in cities should find a proper outlet instead of being let into rivers. "There are no rivers left in the cities. In the Namami Gange (National Mission for Clean Ganga) project, crores of rupees were sanctioned but haven't been utilised so far. The sewage still enters the Ganga," he added.